Braves 7, Phillies 5

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Box Score – July 07, 2010 – ESPN.

After five innings of wondering if the Braves would ever hit the geriatric Jamie Moyer, suddenly, everybody started hitting him, and the Braves put up six runs in the sixth inning to beat the Phillies and open up their most comfortable lead of the season.

Martin Prado actually led off the game with a homer, but other than a leadoff infield single in the fourth by Omar Infante, All-Star, the Braves couldn’t get a baserunner. Some balls were hit hard, some weren’t, all of them were caught. Meanwhile, Kris Medlen got out of a first-inning jam, but couldn’t in the second, allowing a two-out double to Jimmy Rollins to tie the game. Then with two out in the fifth, he walked Raul Ibanez, then allowed a joke “home run” to Howard that must have travelled, oh, 330 feet at least.

Things looked bleak. But those who do not fear the Prado are doomed to repeat allowing homers to him, and it was 3-2 in the top of the sixth, and Moyer suddenly looked his age. Infante singled, then Chipper doubled to the corner. They looked to be pitching around Glaus, then came after him anyway, then walked him after all to load the bases for the lefthanded-hitting McCann. That didn’t work out too well. Brian doubled to left center to make it 5-3. They let Moyer face Matt Diaz, which was really a mistake, as Diaz homered to make it 7-3.

The Braves needed those runs. The Loathsome Victorino hit a solo homer with two out in the seventh, chasing Medlen. Venters got Ibanez to end the inning and Howard to start the eighth, then gave way to Saito. Saito got Werth, then allowed three straight very weak singles to make it 7-5 and put the tying runs on base before getting a popup to end the inning.

Melky doubled to lead off the eighth, but went no further. Wagner didn’t need any help, getting Rollins to fly out “deep” to the little league left field wall, then striking out Victorino and Ibanez.

248 thoughts on “Braves 7, Phillies 5”

  1. I have decided that the periodic back pain I’ve been having is a detached latissimus muscle. It’s actually in more or less the right place.

  2. esp with Diaz, Nate, Heyward, Saito, and Jurrjens all spending time on the DL…also Yunel hasnt hit a lick and Bmac has had his issues

    this team is just working well together. Its fun, hope it continues

    I love Prado

  3. Looking at the White Sox… Their pitchers (including Peavy) haven’t been very good. Nearly all of them are slightly below average. But they’ve been exceptionally durable to this point. They’ve only used 13 pitchers, and the thirteenth for only three appearances.

  4. So now a week from end of the all star break, do we know who the sellers are.

    I’d guess Indians, D-backs, Orioles, Nats, Pirates, marineers, and Royals. Maybe Cubs, Brewers, and Astros if their GM/owners can sell it to the fanbase.

    Who am I forgetting?

  5. If anyone cares, they’ve supposedly cast a few people for the Moneyball movie. Pitt is still Beane, Philip Seymour Hoffman is Art Howe and Paul DePodesta will be played by…Jonah Hill.

  6. @6 – I think the Marlins will be sellers before the trade deadline. I don’t expect Uggla to stay with the Marlins for the full season. The Marlins have never cared much about their fanbase anyway.

  7. Fla can’t be too obvious – they got their hands slapped in the offseason for pocketing revenue sharing dough and basically had to re-up Uggla and Johnson.

  8. The lat muscle is in the back, but it has a tendon attachment to the upper arm, and is active during the throwing motion. So I guess it’s not completely random, though it is very rare (at least I’d never heard of it, in school, or in all my 9 months of being a physical therapist). So the detachment may actually not be anywhere in his back. Just sounds weird to hear ‘detached back muscle’.

  9. I was watching BP at Citzens Bank once. This was before anybody knew who Victorino was. Anyway, he was shagging balls out on the center field track and a group of kids – probably 12 year olds – were screaming at him for a ball. At one point, he walks to the wall looks up and fakes throwing a ball and walks away. The kids keep yelling for a ball and one ends up dropping a dollar bill down to him. Victorino walks to the track, picks up the dollar bill, puts it in his back pocket and walks away smirking the entire time. Needless to say he never tossed the kids a ball.

  10. Just saw that Rafael Soriano is Rivera’s injury replacement for the ASG. Big shoes to fill, but good for him. Meanwhile, Jesse Chavez…

  11. Martin Prado goes deep twice in the rubber game of a series against the defending WS champs. With the All-Star game right around the corner, does this mark the beginning of a higher national media profile, thus kicking off the Prado-for-MVP campaign? Chew on that for a minute.

  12. @17 I just don’t treat that as a real trade. Sori outplayed Wren in the game of arbitration, but we got Chavez back instead of nothing…so, what did we lose actually? It was either we sign Wag or we keep Sori.

    I will take Wag any second.

  13. The only problem with that is that Cox and Wren feel obligated to keep Chavez around, and his performance has been sub-replacement level. I agree that it really shouldn’t count as a trade because we couldn’t have kept both Wagner and Soriano, but we’d have been better off just releasing Soriano rather than offering him arbitration to start that whole mess.

  14. @22 That’s a completely different question. No, he should be in AAA. As far as I am concerned, Kimbrel has nothing left to prove in AAA and Bobby can definitely use another power arm out from the pen instead of a human white flag.

  15. 20- That’s not true. We lost our first round pick to sign Wagner. In a vacuum, looking at the first half of the season, we’d have been better off going to arbitration with Soriano solely for the value of that first round pick.

    However, Soriano always struck me as the baseball version of a Janissary, and while that’s sorta cool, Wagner is definitely a leader in the clubhouse and IMO that counts for a bit more.

    Regardless, I think it was a legit roll of the dice by Wren…even if Chavez’s ceiling is being the white flag.

  16. Chavez is worthless right now. But that isn’t his ceiling. His average fastball is 94.6 mph. If he could ever figure out how to pitch, he’d actually be good. Send him to AAA and call him up if he ever gets anyone out down there.

  17. Thought the mood would be a little more celebratory. I guess when the present looks too good, some people have to look backwards just to find something to complain about. We have Wagner, Saito, Venters, Moylan, and O’Flaherty in the bullpen. In what way is that a bad situation?

  18. Well, I’m whooping it up.

    Nice to put a whipping on old man Moyer for a change. Few things are more depressing than losing to him. Few things are better than winning in Philly.

    Business dinner in a restaurant with the Mets game on tonight. Couldn’t exactly check the iPhone for Braves developments, but enjoyable nonetheless to see the Amazins cough it up. Results are about as good as they can be tonight.

    Glad to hear you’re alright after that shaker, Robert. Will be out your way tomorrow night, so I hope the Southland got that out of its seismic system for the moment.

  19. Craig Kimbrel walked 10 batters in 8 and 1/3 big league innings. SSS and all, I know, but it’s not like he’s never had this issue in the past. His command needs more work. Jesse Chavez has a a 4.51 FIP, a 4.65 xFIP, and a 4.18 SIERA right now. I doubt Craig Kimbrel could do that at this point. Better to have Kimbrel getting much needed regular work at AAA and Chavez standing by in case of a blow out or extra-innings game than vice versa.

  20. I just can’t get enough of that video spike posted in the previous thread. I’ve watched it six times now, and I laugh more with each viewing. It’s perfect.

  21. In all seriousness, how exciting is it to see Matt Diaz come back and crush a couple of lefties?

    Jurrjens is back, dealing, replacing our worst starter (who, in fairness, wasn’t even all that bad to begin with.)

    Now Diaz is back, with the net effect of taking some ABs away from our worst offensive player, Melky.

    If Heyward can really get his hand right… CHRIST we have a good ball club.

  22. Well the obvious question is why not give Dunn a try? Unless he really is blacklisted, he’s sporting a 1.11 ERA in AAA. Perhaps that makes the pen too lefty heavy.

  23. Just a quick thing regarding Wren getting “outplayed” by Soriano in arbitration:

    Nobody got outplayed. Both parties did what was in their best interest. Wren’s decision (as it turned out) amounted to:

    Get Nothing OR Get the Rights to Jesse Chavez

    Now, you can argue that Chavez has been a net negative on the roster this year (I might agree with you), but having the OPTION to employ Jesse Chavez is clearly better than not having that option. So while Soriano accepting arbitration was sub-optimal for the Braves (they’d have preferred the draft pick), it was not a mistake to offer him arbitration. In fact, it was clearly the correct thing to do, since they were able to get a player of some possible utility for him via trade.

  24. #35
    NYC is a 4 a.m. bar town. But Atlantic City is a 24-hour town.

    Hope they’re headed north on the NJ Turnpike, not east on the AC Expressway.

  25. mravery, take your logic, and can it.

    Frank Wren is an idiot. He should be fired. He gave up Charlie Morton, who was great until the Pirates got a hold of him, and all he got us was Nate McLouth. He gave up Soriano and all he got us was Jesse Chavez. He signed TAKASHI SAITO, WHO SUCKS! He allowed Heyward to start the year on the big club, and all he did was GET HURT!

    No sirree, I don’t want to hear about circumstances, or logical fallacies. I know in my heart that Frank Wren screwed the pooch here.

  26. Mac, you can count on me to loathe Victorino as well. After that play at the plate a few years ago, I can’t stand the guy.

    Great series! This is as clutch as I’ve seen the Bravos play in quite some time.

    On to New York… hopefully we can pad this lead.

  27. Here’s all the reason you need to hate Victorino:

    And don’t forget his utlra-douchey clothing line…or his stupid Evil Spock goatee.

  28. Prado is unbelievable. I was so wrong about him two years ago. He is now one HR shy of his career high for a full season.
    And I love Medlen. So happy that Bobby Cox kept him in the rotation instead of KK. Do you think they’ll try to move KK now?

  29. Not really sure why the thread has been so negative during this series. I’m pretty sure some of it is sardonic, making fun of the people who actually are being pointlessly negative, but still… No matter, I am incredibly happy with how this series went. Now if we can take two-of-three from the Mets, as well, we seriously put a bit of a stamp on this division going into the All-Star break, in that it will certainly be ours to lose, at least.

    Saito does not suck. He’s been an excellent setup man, and this was really the first bad outing he’s had that didn’t involve him coming back from injury since very early in the season. Plus, he still did his job tonight.

    I hate Shane Victorino because his playing style is so freaking annoying, mostly. He’s like a mosquito that won’t go away. He gets to any ball. He fouls a ton of pitches off. He’s really fairly non-descript and couldn’t win a game by himself like Howard or Utley could, but because he does all the little things right, all the Phillies fans love him, making him all the more annoying, especially since he’s on one of my least favorite sports teams (I do hate the Mets more, but other than that, I’m not sure I hate any baseball team more than the Phillies, at the moment). All the little asshole things he’s done along the way only enhance it. I would hate his guts if he never ran over McCann.

    Having said that, though I can’t really think of a current Braves player I would compare to him, he’s the type of player I would love if he played for my team. Maybe Infante would be the closest comparison I could come up with, though it’s not a perfect match. But Infante has had an insane amount of huge hits during his time here for a utility player, and if I were a fan of an opposing team, if he came up in an important situation I would be like, “Oh great! It’s this freaking guy again! Why don’t we just bring up the middle of the order right now? At least then our imminent beating will make sense to me!” And that is exactly the thought that has run through my mind every time Victorino has come up in a big situation over the last two years.

  30. Why not give Dunn a chance? For almost exactly the same reason as Kimbrel. He walks a few too many and the organization would be better served for him to practice baseball in the minor leagues, where a) he’s guaranteed regular work and b) he doesn’t hurt the important part of the franchise.

  31. I absolutely hate watching games played in that stadium, particularly Braves games. Any deep fly ball is a home run, and any line drive is an out. It really is the most nerve-wracking thing ever. To have to play against the Phillies in the playoffs would be absolutely horrible. I cannot imagine a more nerve-wracking thing than a playoff game at Citzens Bank Park.

  32. Nobody got outplayed. Both parties did what was in their best interest. Wren’s decision (as it turned out) amounted to:

    Get Nothing OR Get the Rights to Jesse Chavez

    Can we go back and discuss the decisions that led to being painted into a corner with an all-star caliber player? Or are you only interested in beating down strawmen?

  33. I honestly could not give less of a shit about Rafael Soriano right now. Why are we still arguing about this? Who freaking cares???

    And as far as Chavez goes, he pitches once a week in the lowest-leverage situations possible. Every team has same incredibly crappy mop-up guy. If it wasn’t him, it would be someone else. Again, why does anybody care about this anymore?

  34. Tony, are you suggesting that the fact that the Braves had already signed Wagner and Saito is the reason there was not a bigger return on Soriano?

    That stuff is completely call-in show and blog commenter stuff. Markets are driven by competition, not by ‘Well you can’t use him, so I don’t have to pay you anything for him.’ If there were two teams that wanted him at an arbitration salary, the return would have been higher.

    Or do you think that Soriano chose to accept arbitration because we had signed Wagner and Saito?

    As a FA, he commanded a certain salary, plus a draft pick. By accepting arb, he commanded no draft pick, but a higher salary. There was no market for him in the first circumstance, at least not a strong enough market for him to forgo that higher salary. In the second circumstance there was a market, just a very weak one.

  35. I, too like Mac, cannot understand how everybody doesn’t hate Victorino, not just Braves fans. He is probably the only player on the Phillies I actually hate. I really believe that he at least on a few balls that I have seen, purposely gets a ‘bad’ jump, only to make a diving catch.

    I, for the life of me can’t understand how the Mets are only three back. I know ububba has told us how, per se, the Mets have been winning, but looking at their team and watching them play, something just doesn’t add up for me. Comparing this Braves team, and the Mets on paper, it just seems the Braves are better in every single area, and yet they are only three up. Let’s pad the lead before the ASB, don’t give them any hope before the break.

  36. I know it’s late, but I also wanted to add one more thing:
    SLUGGING MARTIN PRADO !!!!!!!!!

  37. Last nights game was one that really got me on the optimist bandwagon.
    I have been thrilled all year with the winning but seeing Diaz come back and hit the lefty changes this team.
    We had been relying on spare parts types for a lot of wins and that usually catches up to you but with Matty D hitting and JJ throwing it takes pressure off of those others.
    Now we can be slow bringing Heyward and Nate back and really put a heck of a team on the field at any time with depth and flexibility all over the place.

    Now, 2 of 3 from the Mets and i will be skipping around the neighborhood.

  38. Anyone know where Shane Victorino is from? And, did you know that Tony La Russa is a lawyer?

  39. All I can remember is before going to Philly a lot of people on this board were talk about us getting swept. Then we win two of three and they are still negative.

    We have the best record in the NL!!!!!!!!!!

  40. I’m never optimistic going into a game against Moyer… and it was just FANTASTIC to see that 6th inning. Going into the All-Star break guaranteed to be in 1st place is pretty nice too… especially with the chance to open things up a bit against the Mets (though facing knuckle-baller, Pelf, & Santana means it probably won’t be an easy series) now that we knocked the Phils back a bit.

    Who was calling the game on TV last night with Smoltz? How many random announcers do the Braves have between Peachtree TV & SportsSouth?

  41. I repeat my question from last night — is this the game that launches Prado’s MVP candidacy on a national level? If someone offers me a dollar that Joe Buck will not say “You can make an argument, and a fairly convincing one, that Martin Prado is the National League MVP”, how unsure am I now that I should not take that bet, and how does this compare to my degree of lack of certitude as to the correct course of action in this situation had the offer been made prior to last night’s game? That, my friends, is the interesting question.

  42. Ernie Johnson, Jr was on Peachtree with Smoltz last night. I loved the picure of the two of them having lunch with Charles Barkley.

  43. @53

    And let’s just say that my disgust with LaRussa has only grown in recent weeks. I hate that guy.

  44. Im glad he left Franklin out there to dry. What 6 hits, 6 er, 2 hr and he only got 1 out. I think he threw 30 pitches in that inning. Maybe larussa was napping in the dugout

  45. #50
    Except for OBP—ours has dropped a little recently, but it’s still 18 points higher than NYM—our team stats are similar to the Mets’. They slug a little better, our ERA is lower.

    But, as to the most important non-win stat: In the same amount of games (85), we’ve scored 7 more runs; they’ve given up 7 more. Pretty even, really.

  46. So, is anyone aware of a rigorous study exploring why the home field advantage is so significant in W-L performance? As of today only two ML teams (Tampa Bay and Milwaukee) have a better road win percentage. I would expect that a 10-1 disparity in favor of a better home record is fairly consistent year-to-year.

    There are some structural reasons why the home team has a slight advantage, such as batting in the bottom of the inning, and some team rosters (theoretically) are constructed with the home field in mind. But these seem to me to be fairly minor advantages over the course of multiple seasons. Does it have to do with the home crowd effect? Then why do teams that don’t draw crowds (or that draw notoriously passive crowds) still have significant advantages? Is it players sleeping in their own beds?

  47. @50, 63 – A few things stand out to me – NY did very well in interleague play, and have not played the toughest part of their schedule yet. 24 of the remaining 76 games the Mets have are against ATL and PHI. An additional 17 games are against other divisional leaders and teams actively in the WC hunt. Also, the Mets haven’t made their west coast trip yet. Things are going to move very quickly for the Mets one way or the other after the ASB.

  48. Tony LaRussa is NOT a lawyer. He has a law degree but he has not practiced and I believe he is not admitted to a bar (other than the ones he goes into before he drives home). :) I know we aren’t the most popular profession, but please don’t impute Tony LaRussa to us.

    Wren made good moves and some that did not work out. No one has a 100% track record. Some have worked out much better than one could have hoped. Perhaps there are things he could have done better (e.g., Soriano) but he doesn’t have the payroll leeway of other teams, even in the division.

    Braves will face, I believe, Dickey, Pelfrey, and Santana. I know Pelfrey has struggled in his last couple of starts but, no matter what you think of the Mets overall, that will not be a piece of cake.

    And who would have thought that Martin Prado would have 40% more home runs than Chipper (he has six, right?) at this point in the season?

  49. I know I hate Victorino because of that goofy look he always has and that awful helmet with two ear flaps that he wears. It makes him look like a bobble head doll at the plate.

  50. It seems to me that home field advantage has increased substantially in recent years (although I have no empirical evidence to back that up). Perhaps the scheduling and travel (going to coast-to-coast without a day off, for example) is having some effect. The crowd shouldn’t make that much difference in baseball unless you are in a dome; if you are up at bat, you should pretty much be able to tune out the crowd and being especially pumped up is, if anything, a detriment in baseball. And I’m not sure why sleeping in your own bed should make a big difference; these guys aren’t staying at Motel Six. In fact, it seems to me that the road team should have an advantage taking a bus back to the hotel after a road game while the home players have to drive home late at night.

  51. It’s probably the human element, like Marc said. It’s where you live, you sleep in your bed, you’re with your family, it’s your clubhouse, your locker, your everything.

  52. Since it’s an off day, does anyone feel like being a consultant on my baseball project? I wanted to get feedback from people like you all, since I’d like to actually launch this as a real site after the project is finished, and I want to make sure it seems like a good deal and is laid out well.

    Ok, so basically the idea of the site is that it’s a place where anyone who’s a fan of baseball’s random minutiae can go and read about it or even add their own. I’m working on making a posting system that will make it easy for members to post, without having to go into wordpress’s dashboard.

    The navigation will be driven by the icons on the left, though I haven’t gotten those links working yet. The pages (About, Shop, and so on) are also blank for now.

    When it comes to team, there will be some basic historical info provided and a list of links for further information. Below that will be any of the posts tagged with the name of that team.

    That’s all I can think of for now in terms of an introduction… Oh, if you’re using internet explorer (8 might work) the site is going to look awful, I haven’t made the alternate stylesheets yet. Also, Mac, sorry about the orange.

    http://heckhouse.com/Eephus/

    Most of the content is filler right now, stuff taken directly from other sites. I did make a post about Mac’s list of switch hitting pitchers http://heckhouse.com/Eephus/2010/07/switch-hitting-pitchers/

    Hopefully this makes sense and is a good idea, thanks to anyone who takes the time to look!

  53. Top 25 most career PA for a switch-hitting pitcher:

    1 Tony Mullane 2971
    2 Kid Nichols 2260
    3 Early Wynn 1903
    4 Robin Roberts 1782
    5 Ted Lyons 1726
    6 Red Faber 1550
    7 Will White 1537
    8 Herb Pennock 1426
    9 Jesse Tannehill 1303
    10 Kid Gleason 1279
    11 Eddie Cicotte 1221
    12 Rube Marquard 1195
    13 Larry French 1193
    14 Ed Morris 1157
    15 Red Ames 1122
    16 Charlie Ferguson 1078
    17 Three Finger Brown 1064
    18 Mickey Lolich 1017
    19 Hippo Vaughn 1015
    20 Jim Perry 980
    21 Jack Coombs 960
    22 Casey Patten 813
    23 Johnny Vander Meer 786
    24 Bob Harmon 773
    25 Pedro Ramos 770

  54. Wren made good moves and some that did not work out. No one has a 100% track record. Some have worked out much better than one could have hoped. Perhaps there are things he could have done better (e.g., Soriano) but he doesn’t have the payroll leeway of other teams, even in the division.

    Rants by Alex R. notwithstanding (and honestly, I can’t tell if he’s parodying or not), Frank Wren is currently on the short list for Executive of the Year for the National League.

  55. And I’m not sure why sleeping in your own bed should make a big difference; these guys aren’t staying at Motel Six. In fact, it seems to me that the road team should have an advantage taking a bus back to the hotel after a road game while the home players have to drive home late at night.

    Two words: circadian rhythms. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm)

    Trips to the CST aren’t quite as bad, but trips across country are brutal (in either direction.) And now that uppers are on the same list as HGH, travelling players are even more prone to the lags. And even when you travel in time zone (i.e. from Atlanta to Philly or NYC) the body is exhausted by the process of air travel (i.e. an unnatural, stress producing ordeal in even the best, “private charter” circumstances.)

    Home field advantage comes down to “not having to travel” advantage. The body is on it’s own clock. You’re not living out of a suitcase in a strange city. You don’t have extra hormones pumping (which have been proven to happen) just because of air travel. It’s just a better place to be, all around.

  56. At this point I really hope LeBron signs with Olympiakos in Greece. I don’t need to hear any more about him.

  57. My barber said Lebron on a mid level exception to Memphis. They then trade him to Minnesota for a 1st round pick.

  58. LePissOff is more like it to me at this point. Just go already and be done with it.

  59. I’d like to see a breakdown of road game record by road trip game number. The hypothesis being, if teams tend to get progressively worse the longer they’ve been on the road, then you’re looking at a travel effect. If, on the other hand, there is no progressive worsening, then the explanation has more to do with the positive effect of being at home.

  60. KyleB,
    Interesting article, but I haven’t had time to do more than skim it. Looks a little polemic. Economists do some dumb things (me included) deserving of ridicule, but I doubt that I agree with the author in all these cases. I’m friends with Dave Berri and I like his work. Also, here is my follow up to the Francoeur post, in which I estimate his worth to be between $3-$4 million.

  61. @69 – That makes some sense for parks with quirks that affect how a hitter sees a pitch (e.g., Chavez Ravine), but it seems hard to believe that a funky outfield nook or extra large foul areas really has such a significant effect. The Braves have an enormous home v. road W-L differential, but Turner Field doesn’t strike me as being quirky.

    @73 – Can you please add me to the exception?

    @82 – Not sure the hypothesis stands. A team that performs subpar for the first several games of a long road trip, but that improves toward the end, could also support a “travel effect” as players adjust to the new time zone, sleeping patterns, etc.

  62. Apparently the Phillies are bad this year because Chase Utley’s wife is having an affair with Jayson Werth.

    http://bit.ly/dgxefu

    Might also have something to do with the Phillies’ seeming willingness to deal Werth this year while only 6 back at the ASG.

    Just look at Werth in that pic though. Who wouldn’t want some of that immaculately manscaped face?

  63. @84

    That’s also possible, which is why the data would be interesting.

    @85

    Not if we had the data for an entire league in a particular season.

    @86, 87

    An amazing confluence of stories!

  64. @72–hard to take that article seriously when it makes an obvious mistake of calling Dave Berri a Princeton economist. Berri, to my knowledge, neither went to Princeton nor has been on the faculty at Princeton–things that are easy to see from a quick glance at his CV:

    http://www.suu.edu/faculty/berri/vita2010.pdf

  65. 73—Not as far as I’m concerned…

    87—!!!

    92—I take comfort in knowing that Gammons is never right.

  66. @92

    I’d do that in two and a half heartbeats. I’d rather it be Vizcaino as we have two other RHP prospects and Minor is our only LHP prospect, but I’d rather lose Minor than Delgado or Teheran.

    But then again maybe we shouldn’t do anything yet, as Diaz appears back to pre-infection form so far.

  67. Trivia: Since 1930, how many second basemen have led either league in total bases?

  68. @ 92 – I’m in on the Corey Hart trade also, although I think 19 hrs so far this year is an aberration. If we got him, we’d just need to dump Melky or McLouth. An OF of Heyward, Hart and Diaz/Hinske would be pretty hard to beat.

  69. Wrong, the answer is one — Ryne Sandberg in 1990.

    Trivia #2: Again since 1930, how many players have led their league in both total bases and assists?

  70. rumor from gammons has the braves pondering a corey hart for mike minor trade

    Uh…bang and done. Heartbeat.

  71. Talked with a coworker of mine who’s a Phillies fan at lunch today, and he said that they don’t think they’re gonna be able to re-sign Werth at the end of the year anyway, and that apparently they have an outfield prospect who will force out either Victorino or Werth next year, as well.

    The only question is whether trading Werth would effectively eliminate any chance they have to make the playoffs this year. It would make them incredibly left-handed, plus, like, take one of their better players off the team. My coworker didn’t mention anything about this alleged affair, but that’s another reason to maybe do it thrown on the pile.

    Also note that they could trade Victorino instead of Werth.

  72. @99, in that event, Hart goes to RF, some mix of Melky/Mclouth CF, Hinske/Diaz in LF, which makes sense, but what do you do when Heyward comes back?

  73. @101 – Matt Diaz played CF respectably last year. Gregor Blanco is a good defensive sub in late innings.

  74. Hart is listed as 6-6 230 and has played RF exclusively over the last few years. Can he play center now? I would rather have him or Heyward in center than to continue to trot out Melky/McLouth/Blanco in center on a regular basis. Heck, if it came down to a choice between Melky or Diaz in center on a daily basis, I’d go with Diaz.

    One thing for sure, if we had Hart and Heyward in the OF together, you wouldn’t want to mess with our OF.

  75. @103 – Really? B-ref shows him as only having 6 innings last year, and they are his only CF innings in his entire career. Not disagreeing, per se, but that seems like a very sanguine outlook. And again, if your 4 OFs are Hinske, Diaz, Hart Heyward, plus Blanco, what to do with Melky and Mclouth?

  76. Thanks JC.

    Marc – I take the bar in three weeks. You wouldn’t happen to be hiring would you?

  77. Hart in LF, Heyward in RF, Diaz/McLouth-Blanco in CF. Hinske backs up Glaus at 1B and makes the spot start for Hart against tougher RHP. Diaz could also spell Heyward occasionally against tough LHP, with McLouth getting the start in CF.

  78. Good dirt on Werth. Reminds me of those old stories about the famously concussed Philadelphia Flyer. Something about that town?

    Was very happy to know that, because I’ll be on an airplane, I’d miss the LeBron Show tonight. Then I looked at my ticket & saw that it’s JetBlu.

    Guess I’m watching.

  79. I “remembered” more than six innings, but from what I saw last year, he can fake CF fine. I’d guess that one of McLouth/Blanco/Melky would go to Milwaukee along with Minor.

  80. I’d do the Hart-Minor trade, but I’d make sure to have had a couple of conversations with the Phils first. Particularly if Victorino should happen to be on the block. I’d rather see CF settled, and I have no faith in McLouth.

  81. @111 – There is no way Philly deals in the division. If you want Werth or Victorino you are going to have to find a third party.

  82. @102,

    Spike, the answer is obvious. You send Heyward to the minors–he sucks anyway; look at how he has tailed off since the first month. Bury him on the farm until he learns how to slide and not get hurt. Then you do a Steve Phillips and trade him for Roy Oswalt. :) (just kidding)

    It certainly wouldn’t be the first time in baseball history that teammates had affairs with each other’s wives. But, boy, talk about putting a shiv in someone’s back. Still, I don’t see why that would explain why the Phillies are playing badly. Sure, it’s a distraction to some extent, but only if you are Utley. Why should anyone else care? Even if they take sides, why should that make any difference on the field? Am I not going to throw the ball to a teammate because I don’t like whose side he is on?

  83. Could Hart really be that bad in CF? Wasn’t McLouth something like -37 there last year or 2008? I mean of course you want better than that, but it’s not like we have a stellar defense out there right now.

    And it’s only half a year. We could move him back into a corner during the off-season and pick up a real CF or hope Schafer is good enough to come back.

  84. @112 – agree fully. We have about the same chance of getting Utley that we do of getting Werth or Victorino directly from Philly. The Phils won’t deal with us.

  85. Werth looks like a total ass and seems like one according to that story.

    Another Phillie to hate along with Victorino?

  86. Maybe they’d be willing, maybe not. I don’t claim to know. But we’re willing to do it and so are the Mets (witness last season), so I’m not sure why Philly is anything different. It’s a phone call Wren has to make.

    I’m also not sure how the addition of a third team would change the dynamic of Werth or Victorino coming here, from the Phils perspective.

  87. Home field advantage is less in MLB than in NBA and NFL. One NBA study revealed that teams did really well first home game after road trip. I credit the umps.

  88. So why don’t we want to trade for Marlon Byrd? Right handed, CF, .306/.351/.476 for a .827 OPS with 9 HR. He makes 3 mill this year, 5.5 in 2011, 6.5 in 2012. I can see his OBP is batting average reliant, but he still helps this team hitting low in the order.

    Offer them Nate (likely won’t take him) or Melky, or try Kawakami if they won’t take one of those two, and a solid prospect. Kimbrel? Dunn?

  89. I really hate the attitude that Ryan Howard takes when he pops a little home run to the first row in left field. It’s just ….COME ON DUDE. I honestly feel like I’d be embarrassed.

  90. @107,

    Kyle, I work for the FTC in DC doing antitrust. Don’t know where you live or if you are interested in the government/antitrust, but we are beginning our hiring cycle soon. If you are in Atlanta, we have an office there too.

    Good luck with the Bar; what state?

  91. Well, no, he’s really not. Byrd has slugged .459 and higher each of the last 4 years, and has a .427 career average. Melky has never, one time, ever slugged .427. His career high is .416, and thats the only time he ever topped .391.

    Byrd has OPS’d .823 over the last 4 years, and has a career OPS is .769 and Melky has never touched that in any one season.

  92. I would definitely trade Minor for an additional OF. We have a great deal of pitching depth, so it really wouldn’t hurt us. It seems to me, barring injury or somehow being able to get rid of Lowe’s contract, that we have all five rotation spots spoken for next year, as well, making Minor even more expendable.

    To me, Minor seems like the type of prospect that’s perfect to use as trade bait. There isn’t really a spot for him right now, he’s pitching really well in the high minors, and he’s overperformed expectiations, meaning he’s probably not quite as good as he looks right now, but that teams will be willing to take him in a trade. His value may never be higher to us than it is right now, actually. If we didn’t have the pitching depth that we do, we would be forced to keep him and hope that he develops into a mid-rotation Major League pitchter. We really don’t have to do that as it stands now, though.

    Having said that, I saw him pitch the other night in Gwinnett, and I will admit to being very impressed.

  93. Trading Minor is a bit like trading Adam Wainwright. His upside is quite high, but he is a pitching prospect, and TINSTAAP. With Hart you get a year and a half (basically what you would have gotten from Teixeira if we hadn’t turned him around to Anaheim.)

    With that said, I’d do it. Trade from strenght to fill weakness. Power on the corner OF spots is a weakness, and it’s not one that we can continue to afford now that Chipper has stopped hitting like, well, Chipper.

  94. @121, to be fair, Byrd has hit pretty steady the last 3 plus years. UZR is all over the place on his fielding, but other metrics have him as passable. I think we can safely say he’s a good bit better than Melky.

  95. @117

    That trade with the Mets was pretty much a coin toss. It helped both teams equally in the short-term (the rest of the season), so there really wasn’t a reason for either team not to do it. It was a mid-level trade that swapped equal players, pretty much. It didn’t really give anybody an advantage in the race. Plus the Mets sucked last year, and had no chance of making the playoffs, so they wouldn’t have cared anyway.

    If the Phillies traded us Werth or Victorino for prospects, while it’s possible they would get the better end of the deal, we would win the deal in the short-term by having Werth or Victorino in the lineup for the rest of the year, while the prospects we gave them would be in the minors. They could basically hand us the division if they did that, particularly if we’re talking about Werth specfically. Therefore, it’s not particularly likely that they would.

    @118

    I haven’t done or read any studies on the matter, but it seems to me that baskeball is the sport where home-field advantage matters the most, followed in order by football, baseball and hockey. Soccer, for those who care, is probably about equal with football in this regard, unless the game is played at a ridiculously high altitude, which can happen. In those specific instances, soccer rockets past basketball into No. 1.

  96. Hart’s SLG is 80 points higher than his career average and way higher than last year. Is there any indication that he can keep up this level of production? I ask innocently and curiously. He seemed Franceouresque the last couple of years.

  97. At least we got a really good (if annoying and laissez-faire) player for Wainwright, not an aspiring journeyman having a career year.

  98. Actually, I think I might like the idea of trading for Byrd a bit better than Hart on 2nd thought. Hart will not be THAT much better than a strict Hinske/Diaz platoon, Byrd is a legit CF, he’ll cost a ton less than Kemp or some such, and fixes a lineup spot that has been troublesomne all year. You’d have to really think Hart can keep this up all year before it becomes a slam dunk.

  99. Personally, I doubt that giving 80%-90% of the available LF at-bats to Corey Hart is going to be much of an upgrade over a 60-40 Hinske-Diaz split.

    I think if it’s a corner, it needs to be a legitimate star (Jayson Werth caliber). The only position where a marginal (read, affordable) upgrade helps us, is in center field. Especially if he’s right handed.

  100. Aside from the “power shagging” I have to note that McLouth’s first assignment in rehab was to manage to sit through the heat without getting dizzy. Granted, it’s hot as hell out there these days, but for a concussion-rehabber, that is just not a good sign.

  101. Interesting part of a comment from Talking Chop….sort of what I was getting at in 132

    Eric Hinske’s career wRC+ against RHP: 113
    Matt Diaz’ career wRC+ against LHP: 139

    Corey Hart’s career wRC+: 113
    Corey Hart’s career wRC+ against lefties: 129 (Worse than Diaz)
    Corey Hart’s career wRC+ against righties: 107 (Worse than Hinske)

    Matt Diaz respective UZR and DRS in LF: 7.8 and 3
    Eric Hinske respective UZR and DRS in LF: -0.2 and -6

    Corey Hart’s career UZR and DRS in RF: -11.6 and 4

  102. Further, the guy (Hart) makes 5 mill this year, likely 8 million next year in arb, since the arbiter WILL be impressed by his home runs.

    Prorating this season to about 2.5 mill, and guessing his salary next year is 8 mill, buts him at 10.5 for 16 months of Hart.

    13 mill would keep Byrd here a full year longer.

    The downside of Hart is that he’s Francoeur, but appreciably more expensive. If you trade for him, he’s your LF next year, he costs so much, you can’t afford to replace him.

    The downside with Byrd is age, and park effects. If he isn’t as effective outside of a hitters park (he has big home/away splits from Texas, but has been better OUTSIDE of Wrigley this year) then he becomes a LF, and you lose your ability to carry and pay Matt Diaz.

    Plus, I imagine Byrd would cost much less in prospects.

  103. I just read that Andrus and N. Feliz made the AL all star team. That really makes me want to go out and trade some prospects for a star like Adam Wainwright.

  104. Good points about Hart’s career numbers. I have nothing to back this up, but I’m optimistic he can continue producing well for the rest of this season. First, he’s had a year this good before. Second, it’s my belief that a player’s first half of a season is more predictive than his career numbers of how he’ll do in the second half — provided said first half is not out of line with prior performance. If we sat him against the occasional RHP and he gave us .270/.340/.520…well, that’d be pretty good.

  105. But Diaz will probably hit something like .320/.375/.475 over the rest of the year. And he doesn’t cost a thing.

    Hart only makes sense if you think he can play center or if you think he’ll be a major contributor next year.

  106. I say we forgo the offensive additions if we cannot get a consistently upper-tier to elite CF.

    I’m still convinced that Hart is having nothing more than a career year, and will become prohibitively expensive next year; the same year when arbitration raises to our foundation players, including JJ, EOF, Prado, and Escobar, are due. The other problem is floor. Hart’s floor is Jeff Francoeur, circa 2008-2009. Under no conditions should we have such a guy on our hands next year. I don’t think that he is worth even Mike Dunn, let alone Mike Minor. For the same reason that many are for trading Minor (above-average unexpected performance), we should be against trading for Hart.

    Byrd doesn’t offer enough of an upgrade this year (read: 3.8 % BB. That is worse than Francoeur-eque.) to justify paying him during the time when we need to make deals with our arb-eligible players. This team’s ability to take a walk is the reason that we have an above-average offense this year- we are below average in just about every other category. I don’t think that we should pay the price for a second-tier free swinger in Byrd and expect him to carry us; this type of player will get carved up by the likes of the Padres’, Reds’, and even Mets’ staff.

    I read an interesting article a couple of weeks back outlining spending in free agency. This gist of the article was to never over-commit to second-tier players, citing examples of both Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf, if first-tier players are available. It is better to lose money and receive above-average performance from an elite player than it is to lose money and receive average performance from a second-tier player. The article examined the Yankees free agent signings to reach this conclusion. The Yankees never over-commit for second tier players, and so they never have contracts that are huge busts. They always over-commit to elite players; players that have a strong history of elite results as compared to second-tier players who ride one season to big contracts. This way, they are always guaranteed to get at least some value out of their signings, with the high chance of receiving elite-level results. This is in stark comparison to teams that commit to second-tier players, who receive nothing out of the contract if the player plays below his career norms, and only marginal value if the player plays to his career norms.

    I think that the same concept applies in trades. If you are going to have to give up talent, go out there and trade high-level prospects for extremely good players rather than give up second-tier prospects for second-tier players. You are going to get results out of the elite player, even if they play below their career norms; whereas, with the second-tier player, you may get nothing if they play below their career norms.

    There is also a further point in this- second tier prospects (such as Minor) will always have a chance, no matter how low, to become elite players. Second-tier MLB players will rarely deviate enough to become elite players. Minor probably won’t become the next Wainwright, but I feel that he has a higher chance of becoming elite than Byrd or Hart have of outperforming other Outfielders and becoming elite themselves.

    Which brings me to my final point- if you cannot go out and get an elite outfielder (as we do seem to be set at the other positions, for right now), don’t try to compromise. Find an elite player that you can trade for on the market, and go get him. For this, I suggest Cliff Lee. Do we have enough starting pitching? Probably. But can Cliff Lee make enough of a difference to turn us from NLCS runner-ups to World Series Champions? In my opinion, he can. That is also not something that you can say about Byrd or Hart.

  107. Minor has lefthandedness in his favor. He also has a measurable consistent increase in velocity which could account for an improved ceiling.

    I do not think we let him go for marginal improvement in the outfield.

  108. Hart or Byrd? Neither.

    Corey Hart has been a perennial underachiever who is having a good year. Pass. You know who I think of when I think of Marlon Byrd? I think of another guy who we got coming off some great years in an extreme hitters park. He ended up pushing our Hall of Fame third baseman to LF for a couple years, and whether coincidence or not, started a series of cataclysmic injuries that has hamstrung us (pun intended) for years. I’d rather have McLouth and keep our prospects than Marlon Byrd.

    Agreeing with desert, I just say we stick with what we got, because the options aren’t real attractive out there.

  109. I can be convinced that Hart isn’t worth it, but you should acknowledge that Vinny Castilla gave the Braves a couple of good years.

  110. No he didn’t. He gave them one awful year (.232/.268/.348) and one mediocre year (.277/.310/.461) and certainly nothing that Wes Helms couldn’t have. If anything, that’s underselling Smelms. Vinicio’s combined line for the Braves (including his brief work in 1991-92) was .254/.289/.402. Yuck.

  111. AAR, I understand what you’re getting at regarding Byrd. But your hyperbole is just stupid. 825 ops in cf doesn’t suck. And he’s been that solid for 4 years running, unlike Matthews. And 3 years and 15 million isn’t close to Matthews contract. And now as a cub, he’s been better than in Texas, and if you want to say wrigley is a hitters park, then look and see that he’s been BETTER on the road.

    He’s not a cure all, but what you said is just untrue.

    I’m pretty levelheaded on what Byrd can do. I’m not calling him a savior. But I think he’d be as big an upgrade over our current cf options as Hart et al would be in lf. And he’d come cheaper in dollars, and prospects, be under control longer, and cf is a bigger need on this team than lf.

  112. Little more discipline and a little more power and you can convince me his second year was ok, but his first year was horrible, and his defense, if I remember correctly, also wasn’t as advertised. Meanwhile, we get bad defense in LF and an angry Chipper. All because Vinny had shinny numbers at the Hitters’ Haven. That was the first year I started following the Braves past “Jeff Blauser has a cool name, so I like him.”

  113. From #144:
    The article examined the Yankees free agent signings to reach this conclusion. The Yankees never over-commit for second tier players, and so they never have contracts that are huge busts.

    I read the article, but it was a little (or a lot) of selective history. Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano were both second- or third-tier players who received contracts worth vastly more than they deserved, then got injured and made it moot. A.J. Burnett isn’t a first-tier player; at best, he might be first-and-a-half-tier. Their biggest Pacific Rim signings, Hideki Matsui and Kei Igawa, were overpaid second-tier players. So is Andy Pettitte, whom the Yankees have paid approximately $53 million from 2007-2010.

    And Jason Giambi and Mark Teixeira were slugging first basemen who were paid as though they were perennial MVP candidates, rather than occasional All-Stars. (Giambi was coming off an MVP and a 2nd-place finish in 2000 and 2001, so he was a much better player in his era than Tex, relatively speaking. But among early-2000s first basemen, Giambi wasn’t appreciably better than Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, Jim Thome, or Carlos Delgado.)

    In general, the premise of the article is correct: given the Yankees’ near-unlimited cash flow, it’s in their best interest to overpay for elite players and ignore everyone else. But that’s not what they’ve always done.

  114. @123 – Marc: I am getting ready to take the Ohio bar on July 27-29 but am willing to relocate anywhere. Have you been to Ohio?

    If you have time, I would at least be willing to send a resume and talk further. I’m at: bickford.kyle at gmail dot com. Thanks.

    Sorry for soliciting work on the thread. It is desperate out there.

  115. Alex @ 153,

    I don’t know enough about Yankee history to draw those conclusions, so I’m glad that you pointed that out. But as you assert, the point that overpaying elite players is wiser than overpaying second-tier players is still valid.

  116. #149, it’s really not all that hyperbolic a comparison. Byrd was a crappy part-time player till he landed in Texas: a 28-year old with a career .701 OPS in 408 games for the Phillies and Nationals. Then he came to Arlington, posted an .820 OPS in three years as a Ranger. Gary Matthews was a 28-year old with a career .695 OPS until he landed in Texas, and posted an .817 OPS in three seasons as a Ranger.

    Both resurrected their careers and got multiyear free agent deals as a result, as so many utility outfielders have done before — guys like Gary Matthews, Mark DeRosa, Milton Bradley, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy…

    Look, I know you can’t completely ignore the numbers they put up in Texas. But I take them with a really, really large grain of salt, because those guys collectively did so much more in Texas than they ever did elsewhere.

    Byrd has been in the league for 9 years, including a cup of coffee in 2002. His rookie year in 2003 was very promising, and then he basically forgot how to hit till he landed in Texas. For his career, he’s batting .305/.373/.512 in Arlington — and .275/.331/.401 everywhere else. He’s not better than Nate McLouth.

  117. Vinny, for whatever reason, had the two worst defensive years of his career, statistically, with the Braves. There’s probably a statistical illusion of some sort involved, the same one that makes Chipper look historically bad instead of mediocre.

  118. @155 The point is valid for the Yankees, but not necessarily applicable to everyone else who a) doesn’t have Yankees money, and b) has to deal with having the Yankees also in the market.

  119. Grst @ 159,

    The point (from the original post) is that because it is better to overpay for talent than to overpay for mediocrity in the free agent market, it is better to overpay for talent than mediocrity in the trade market, also. It had nothing to do with us extending to get free-agent talent.

  120. @152, who would you suggest? Yunel ain’t been hitting, I agree, but he has been flashing the leather with a vengeance for the last couple of months, and he is cheap. I am not sure if anyone better is even available for trade at this point.

    That 363 DP the other night was awesome.

  121. Plus/Minus has Yunel as the best shortstop in baseball, +26 on the season, five ahead of the next-highest shortstop, and almost twice that of the third-best. And remember, it’s an aggregate stat, and he spent two weeks on the DL.

    Infante, meanwhile, is at zero as a shortstop — which I believe means average.

  122. LEBRONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  123. A Yunel offensive resurgence would be right on time. He’s been an offensive zero thus far, but we haven’t suffered for it, and he spent the first 2.5 years of his career showing that he’s a .290+ hitter with moderately low power. Which is weird, because he’s reputed to be very strong, but that’s another topic. His BABIP is 50 points lower than his career mark coming into the season. I have a lot of confidence in him, as long as his head remains screwed on vaguely straight.

  124. 158: Farnsworth was an elite switch-hitting reliever. You gotta overpay for that in the AL.

  125. 171 – You’re right Smitty, he would have gone with Ahmad Rashad instead of Jim Gray.

  126. @176 …on Inside the NBA right after a story about how Chris Mullen gives back to the San Francisco Bay area.

  127. There is no point to watch another NBA game for at least five years.

    More reasons to hate the Heat.

  128. I don’t think the Heat are a shoe in for anything.

    Great teams have to have role players. Sure, there will be some guys who will play for the minimum just to play with these guys and really Bosh is a role player to Lebron and Wade, but there will be no depth.

    When Wade gets hurt and it is Bosh and LBJ, it is just the same a Cleveland.

    And when there becomes a big alpha dog fight, and there will, the team is going to divide.

    Cleveland made a bunch of stupid moves and put themselves in this situation. Moe Williams? Really? Wasting money in a panic to please this guy just bit you in the ass. If they had been patient, they could have a better supporting cast.

    All that being said, when do the Heat come to Atlanta and when can I get tickets?

  129. I doubt Pat Riley will have much difficulties finding role players to support those three.

  130. Good lord how can you bear to watch the NBA? a gang of disinterested slackers overseen by capricious at best and corrupt at worst officials. It’s breathtakingly dull stuff to me.

  131. @144

    Isn’t this kindof a “duh” article, though? Ok, it’s better to overpay for elite guys than to overpay for not-elite guys. Who’s arguing otherwise?

  132. FWIW Olney said today the Braves are enamored of Cody Ross, and as soon as the Marlins raise the white flag (probably next week), they’ll look to move several players including Uggla and Ross. Apparently, the Rockies are slobbering over Uggla as we speak and would play him at 1B.

    As for Commando, he is a decent player with some defensive versatility. I just have a hard time dealing within the division unless he could be acquired for some B level prospect(s). i personally don’t see Minor going anywhere, especially for Corey Hart.

  133. Wasn’t there a rumor that Wren offered Francoeur for Ross last year? If that doesn’t get it done then I don’t know what will.

  134. I appreciate the quandary – like many of the posters here, I could see not making a move at all, unless it’s a real difference maker, not just for today but for the future as well. To use the poker analogy, check the bet or go all in. A weak raise isn’t going to change the odds.

  135. Continuing from yesterday, John Sickels finished answering the questions from his All Questions Answered thread. Two more Braves-related comments:

    Q: The Braves’ lack of position prospects beyond Freddie Freeman is well known. But SS Edward Salcedo looks promising, and Peter Hjort recently called him a future star 3B and possibly the best prospect in the Braves system. What do you think of Salcedo?

    A: Let’s see how he handles the Sally League….that is quite a jump from the DSL to full season ball and so far he is overmatched. He really belongs in the GCL. It is really easy to overhype the young tools guys, and I’d like to at least see some actual data first.

    Q: Mike Minor
    Do you think he has the potential to be a left handed ace or is he still considered to only have the upside of a #3 starter, what grade would you give him?

    A: people get hung up on this “number one” or “number three” starter stuff. Fact is, if you get an average major league starter, even out of a first round pick, you should be happy.

    As for Minor, I do not see him as a “classic ace” type. But I think he can be a 2/3. And there’s nothing wrong with that

  136. David @ 187,

    Go ask the guys who signed Derek Lowe for 60/4, Randy Wolf for 29.750/3, Jason Bay for 66/4, Ryan Dempster for 52/4, Oliver Perez for 36/3, Milton Bradley for 30/3, Kerry Wood for 20.5/2, Edgar Renteria for 18.5/2, Aaron Rowand for 60/5, Carlos Silva for 48/4, Jose Guillen for 36/3, Luis Castillo for 25/4, even Torri Hunter at 90/5 to a certain degree, Carlos Lee for 100/6, Daisuke Matsuzaka at 103/6, Barry Zito for 126/7, Gil Meche for 55/5, Gary Matthews Jr. for 50/5, Juan Pierre for 44/5, Jeff Suppan for 42/4, and do I have to continue?

    All of these guys, except maybe Jason Bay and Torii Hunter, rode mediocrity or mediocrity and one fluke year or early success followed by mediocrity to their contracts. And these were the guys who I could find in about three minutes. Even Jason Bay had WAR season of -.7, 2.9 with the Pirates in 07 and 08 before signing that contract in the 2009 off season with the Mets. Torri Hunter was riding 2.8, 2.3, 2.5, and 3.3 WAR seasons before signing that contract with the Angels. The Red Sox shelled out over 100 million for a guy with absolutely no MLB experience.

    There may be a ‘duh’ factor in all of this, but it’s still pretty real how stupid some GMs can get. Ask the guy who just signed freakin’ Joe Johnson for 119 Million.

  137. Incidentally, I hereby withdraw everything I said during the Jake Peavy-Yunel Escobar trade discussions. Boy, did I turn out to be wrong about that. If not for Escobar’s sucking this year, we could put that right up there with vehemently wanting to draft Glenn Dorsey instead of Matt Ryan for the award of “Most Wrong I Have Ever Been About Anything – Sports Division.”

  138. Nick @ 196,

    I want to hear about the other divisions. Also, I think that you could have adopted that mindset even last year- Peavy was not very good, what with the injury and all that. Also (again), didn’t he veto the trade finally, citing a ‘lack of defense’ if Escobar was traded? Somebody should remind him that defense doesn’t matter if you can’t throw the ball.

  139. 196 — I was even more wrong about how much I would have offered for Peavy than I was about Prado being an everyday 2B.

  140. Hey, don’t beat yourself up, I once advocated trading Yunel for Matt Morris on this blog.

    Between Peavy, Furcal, Griffey, etc, FW had dodged some major bullets.
    I asked this before, but what would have happened to Prado if Furcal was in fact signed? He might have ended up at first, but I doubt it. Still in his super-utility role, or not even on the team I would guess.

  141. You have to think they’d have eventually tried Prado in the outfield if they had Furcal at 2B. There were multiple times during the ’09 season that Brandon Hicks could have been as useful as the garbage they trotted out there every day.

  142. I guess it’s funny the way things turn out. Back during the year prior to that offseason, our rotation was an unquenchable grease fire, with ne’er-do-wells such as Charlie Morton, Jo-Jo Reyes and Buddy Carlyle featuring prominently in it. We were looking for rotation help from anywhere. By the end of the season, Jair Jurrjens was the only worthwhile starter we had. Morton, Reyes and Carlyle all sucked. Tim Hudson had just gone down to a torn elbow ligament and we didn’t know what his situation was going to be going forward. Hanson and Medlen were pipe dreams at the time…mere prospects. No one knew what we were going to get from them. There was no way of knowing. I feel like people who endlessly complain about the Derek Lowe contract and blame it for everything forget just how bad our rotation was back then, and just how much help we needed.

    Anyway, fast-forward to this point and pretty much everything that could have gone right has for our rotation since that point, from the Vazquez trade last year, to Hudson coming back stronger than ever, to Medlen and Hanson. It really is pretty amazing, when you think about it, how we went from one of the worst rotations in baseball to one of the best in a year-and-a-half.

  143. ububba, when is the hour long Ilya Kovalchuk ‘decision’ special on ESPN ? Or is he just going to the KHL ?

  144. Great snippet about Garrett Anderson from Yahoo sports – apologies if it’s been posted elsewhere already:

    Dodgers outfielder Garret Anderson(notes) can be seen tracking the flight of the ball — he kind of wanders, actually — and then gives up after he realizes it’s a lost cause. But Anderson, no doubt ever-observant over a long MLB career, saw the ball drop right into the mitt.

    And did he give a double-take for the ages.

    It might be the first time Anderson was recorded reacting to anything on a baseball field, actually.

    Full article:

    http://tinyurl.com/2a8puls

  145. So, just when I was over LeBron James and “The Decision”, I saw this – http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/news/gilbert_letter_100708.html

    Holy cow, not only is the sense of entitlement breathtaking, but the idea that the owner is sore because James wouldn’t come make him a bigger pile of money than he already has is just nauseating. The reaction from so-called “fans” who seem so wounded by all of this is bad enough, but the crocodile tears from an ownership that has no problem releasing players from Cleveland who suck is just the height of chutzpah.

  146. Cliff Lee, per mlbtr, is about to be a Yank and Vasquez is on his way out. Just think if we could trade KK, add Vasquez, and move Medlen back to the pen…all wishful thinking of course

    according to a few of the posters, Wfan 660 is talking about a Werth/Vasquez swap if the deal goes through

  147. Eh, I’m enjoying it. Players reap what they sow. I can’t stand LeBron James, and while I think the sense of betrayal is silly coming, as it does, from ordinary people who have lives and payments and real jobs, I sure as hell enjoy it when athletes find out they’re not as immortal as they believe. In this case, James seems to have gone out of his way–calling a national press conference! for an hour!–to stab Cleveland in the back. It makes him look ridiculous, frankly. He has every right, but rights have nothing to do with it. I mean, people on this blog were incensed when Smoltz made some frustrated comments after he had been released. Fans get upset.

    The bigger issue is that the NBA is barreling towards even greater irrelevance outside of three or four markets. I can’t even imagine watching a game now.

  148. I love it when rich people whine too, Mr Dan Gilbert people…

    “As you now know, our “former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

    You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal. You have given so much and deserve so much more.

    I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE.

    Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.”

  149. I think he was just trying to retain some fan loyalty in the face of LeBron’s departure. It doesn’t really matter what people outside the Cavs ticket base thinks about the letter — in a weird way, I admire Gilbert for doing it. He’s drilling into the Cleveland hypothalamus (or else giving his own a little too much free rein).

  150. The Yankees are making Jesus Montero the centerpiece of the deal, and I’m not a bit surprised. The Yankees are getting one of the best pitchers in baseball for a few months by trading a superfluous piece; the Mariners badly need hitting, and Jesus Montero is a whole lot better than anything they gave up to the Phillies. Jack Z’s team hasn’t played well this year, but they’ve handled the Lee thing pretty well.

    Of course, this deal could fall through — there have been a whole lot of deals in the last few years that have fallen through after being reported as “close,” especially when the Braves have been involved. But this makes sense for both teams.

  151. I’ll believe the Vaz for Werth thing when I see it – that sounds like serious wishcasting. Amaro is dumb, but he ain’t THAT dumb.

  152. I actually thought Lee was headed to Texas, but yeah, the Yankees will again prevail. Sigh.

  153. “The Dan Gilbert thing was absolutely ridiculous. If he wanted, he could have signed good players for LeBron to play with. That team really sucked.”

    They really didn’t suck. This past year’s team was actually quite good–they won 66 games and surrounded James with some nice complementary pieces. For years, too, the Cavs managed to keep cap space to add a piece here and there, sometimes at the trade deadline. The biggest problem for the Cavs was their coach, who put together an un-imaginative offense that revolved solely around LeBron James (almost certainly what James wanted). The other big problem was James himself tanked when the season was on the line–twice. Ultimately, when the Cavs went against better constructed teams in Orlando (last year) and Boston (this year), their 66 wins proved illusory and they had no answer to threats built both inside and out. James didn’t either. He turned the ball over like 10 times in that last game.

    Maybe Miami’s star-power will work, but for the league’s sake I hope it doesn’t. When half the teams blow up their rosters for free agency while the other half lock themselves into too-expensive guaranteed contracts, your league has a problem.

  154. See, this is why I can’t have the internet, somebody mentions Buddy Carlyle and I go look him up and see he’s playing in Japan this year, and then I look for other Americans on the rosters in Japan, and then I find this guy Mike Schultz who is playing for Toyo Carp, and that when he was in the minors for the D-Backs he once struck out 5 guys in an inning… and 20 minutes are just GONE!

  155. “Power shagging”? Ah, yes, I remember it well.
    ————————

    I agree with every raving, frothing word of Dan Gilbert. But in the words of the late, great Lewis Grizzard, “Brother, I don’t think Ida said that.”
    ————————

    I hope a consensus is emerging that unless we can land a true outfield stud (some think Adam Dunn could be that guy), we should stand pat and hope our returning players (Diaz, Heyward, Jurgens) finish strong. I hate giving away the future for only a slight improvement.

    And there’s always Infante. True .300 hitters are so valuable in the playoffs when you face better pitching.

  156. I feel like the Hawks have sent me on a snipe hunt. I’m out here by myself expecting something else to happen.

    They simply can’t think signing Joe Johnson to a max deal makes any sense. Can they? Uh, hello? Anybody in there?
    ———————-

    So when does Mitch Mustain (and his father) show up in Knoxville?

  157. @218 – rats, not on Auburn’s schedule this year. Doesn’t make it any less amusing though.

  158. The Cavs won a ton of games, yes, and LeBron totally tanked in the playoffs. But the players around him really weren’t that good. On cruise control they could frontrun well enough during the regular season. But the guys around him weren’t quality.

  159. Is the Yankees rotation still not very good, or in acquiring Lee going to make them a super-unbeatable force in the playoffs?

  160. The Yankees’ rotation is already very good. Pettitte’s overachieved, but Sabathia’s a true ace, Phil Hughes is a legit frontline starter, and A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez are absurdly overqualified for the back of the rotation. Adding Lee to the mix basically makes them unholy.

  161. Lee will immediately become the best pitcher in that already great rotation. Can we get angry at the Mariners for this? Is that fair?

  162. Why he put most of the words in quotation marks I have no idea.

    The Werth-Vazquez thing doesn’t make sense for the Phillies, in that it would just be a waste of time. They need to add wins, not rearrange them.

  163. Well that sucks. I think the Braves have a great shot in the postseason against most teams, but I don’t know about the Yankees.

  164. lol@ “lebron tanked in the playoffs”

    PPG/RPG/APG
    career regular season: 28/7/7
    career playoff: 29/8/7

    Saying that he tanked in the playoffs is ridiculous

  165. jj3bag,
    Re: Kovalchuk

    Ha, talk about a guy who misunderstood the market. He probably lost $30-40 Mil by not re-signing with the Thrashers.

    Dunno where he’ll end up, but I’m hoping I can wear my Soviet-red “Kovalchuk Army” pullover to Newark next winter.

  166. I think the Vazquez for Werth trade makes sense for Philly. They’re basically turning Werth into Javier Vazquez + Dominiq Brown. Remember, Werth is a free agent after this year too. As long as Philly’s GM is confident in Brown’s ability to produce at this level, then I don’t see anything wrong with this move. A starting rotation of Doc Halladay/Cole Hemels/Javier Vazquez + 2 bums looks pretty good.

  167. I’ll worry about the World Series when it happens. Right now, I’m just happy to keep Lee away from the Mets or Phillies. The trade works for the Yankees because they are one of the teams that have a legitimate shot at signing Lee after the season.

    LeBron is obviously an egomaniac but I don’t understand how LeBron “betrayed” Cleveland. It’s not his responsibility to keep the city viable. He has a right to choose where to work just like anyone else. Cleveland’s problem is not that a basketball player left but that it has no economic base anymore. If people are going to get that bent out of shape over a basketball player choosing to play somewhere else, they need to get a life. As for the economics, Cleveland needs to get a real economy rather than relying on LeBron James. The owner is an idiot who is simply grandstanding by crying crocodile tears about how this hurts the fans. He knew damn well there was a good chance LeBron was leaving so there was no reason for him to act shocked. The way he did it was sleazy but Gilbert’s rant was absurd.

  168. Sabathia Lee Pettitte/Hughes/Vasquez/Burnett in whatever order is pretty ridiculous

    Right. Pretty much a guaranteed ticket to World Series glory. I mean, there’s no way anyone could beat a rotation like that. It’s like having Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Denny Neagle all lined up back to back.

  169. @212 – At least with Gilbert, Cleveland only got drilled in the hypothalamus. :)

  170. Yeah, but how many WS did Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, et al win? There is no guarantee in a short series. It probably would guarantee the Yankees winning the division, but no team is unbeatable in a short series.

    I love Mets Blog when things go wrong:

    Chakrabs July 9, 2010 at 7:28 am
    Mets pushed down into dirt, lunch money taken again. What else is new. Go ahead Minaya, let the Yanks eat first, we can scavenge the trash heap yet again.

  171. Dude. FMart is totally a superstar in the making. I’ve heard as much for THREE YEARS!

  172. I’m guessing there’s a niche opening in the “ugly-assed, gigantic wall sticker” market if you could print off just LeBron in a Heat uni inexpensively.

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